Saturday, June 13, 2015

Will Summer Ever Come????

It's now the 13th of June, and I am just wondering…..has summer decided to pass us by? It's been max. 14 degrees C. these past 2 months, and I haven't packed out my summer clothes from storage yet. No sandals, no painted toe nails, just barely a gin & tonic here and there to keep up appearances.  Oh well, it makes for time in the studio without feeling that you have missed some precious sun rays.  The past month has been extremely productive.  Taking a stand about creating a series of work on the photos taken up on the hiking trail behind our home, and other stone fences and mountainous passes on the west coast of Norway, I have found a world of possibilities in those photos. Somehow, I missed the point in what to do with these at the time that I took them.  Yes, they were beautiful and had colors and textures and forms that mesmerized me, but….do I take them for face value, or what?
A series….I thought. First the old (ancient) steps.  The stone formations that crashed down mountainsides and landed just by roads and beaches. Then the mosses that grow on the rocks, where water runs down the mountain side and the sounds and smells of the forest take you away from the city for a little while.  Repetitive forms, rearranged and re-colored to suit my mood.  Suddenly I had a whole new project to work with.  Love it when those brain cells grasp on to something and give me ideas for the next 6 months to work with.  I look forward to seeing the series unfold. Hoping others enjoy it afterwards…...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LONG DAYS…..more time for ART

LONG DAYS….more time for ART.
I have been working as much as I can, considering that May, in Norway, has an over abundance religious holidays and Independence Day (May 17th) that long weekends are the norm. Cramming 5 days of painting into 3 has been an exercise in concentration and endurance. I have worked through lunch breaks, have not remembered to make tea or coffee, have forgotten to consider what's for dinner.
After considering what I feel makes me want to stand in front of a painting for more than 2 minutes, I seem to have dragged up from my sub conscience a small bit of realization.   Drawing has been a large part of my artistic life, from small doodles to more finished work. However, when painting, I have largely left drawing out. Only some small lines for guidance..
Suddenly, about a month ago, I took a medium sized round brush and drew, in black, the outlines of some ancient steps that I had photographed a couple of years ago.  The canvas already had splashes of color, leftovers from previous work.  I decided to do a series-varying some of the shapes, and color schemes, and sizes of canvas, but basically working at using the drawing as an integrated part of the whole. No covering up the contours; actually using many colors for the drawings, and keeping to a limited palette.
One thing lead to another, and I was enjoying this new (for me) rediscovery. It has lead to many fun paintings, and color schemes that challenge me in their simplicity. I will continue nature paintings from my photographs, although using the photos as a jumping off point only. Luckily, with the forest and mountains only a 5 minute hike away, and the sea right under my feet, the sites and smells and lights and feelings are revisited regularly and kept fresh in the front of my mind. New inspiration just keeps popping my way and I don't know where it comes from, but just when I think I can't possibly come up with anything new to paint..

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring in Scandinavia !!!

I nearly fainted when I saw the date of the last blog article !!  How could that possibly be? I guess I took some time off after the exhibit, and got my head back together. After that was back in one piece, I started painting again, but somehow I needed more time this time to find myself and my voice. I had a wonderful trip to Barcelona, Spain in October, and the impulses from that trip gave me even more permission to loosen up and see/paint/draw/mess around creatively even more than I have before.  Color wise, I feel that purer colors, stronger contrasts, and smarter blending of fewer colors gives a more harmonious whole. Also, I keep remembering a comment that was made almost 20 years ago at one of my previous studios by a mentor of mine…."you should paint more like you draw".  I wasn't experienced enough at that time to see how to do that, but it is still popping up often when I am frustrated, and I feel that my real self wants to get out, but can't find the exit.  Even after a another year of art school and 16 years of studio experience, I still struggle to find the "flow" I desire. Now that it is nearly May (!!!) I am in a good place with the latest work, and something tells me that the future is starting to open up to a type of painting that incorporates my movements and a clearer use of color, combined with my own observations/experiences of nature.  Nature gives and gives to us, and we need to take the time to see.  Our time on this planet is pretty short, and taking the time to SEE and process the impulses from a hike, digging in the dirt, listening to a bird's song and then, for me, taking these impulses and interpreting them onto a canvas in a visual harmony….makes life worth living. Hopefully, it gives back to others a sense of experiencing this on a daily basis when they see a painting.  The little pause that a work of art can give you in your daily life, can lift you up and give you the energy to trudge on…..

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This weather….it's just unbelievable . So warm and sunny and dry. It's more than Indian summer…it's just summer, never-ending.  Still uncomfortable to sleep with even a super thin down comforter….the kind that's called "sommer dyne" in norwegian.  The dog is feeling it too…..just doesn't want to go on long walks, and I can't seem to dress cool enough.
There have been hundreds of people on Lille Øvregt. this past weekend. Can't say that I blame them for not really having a visit to an art gallery at the top of their list of things to do, what with the hiking possibilities available in this city.  Nevertheless, very happy with those who did stop in, and for all the wonderful conversations and comments about the work hanging there now.  2 paintings sold this weekend lifted me out of the doldrums, and many more who were seriously interested in several others will be coming back to me before I close up the 28th.
Go to an art exhibit in your neighborhood soon.  The more you see, the better you will become at knowing what is good and what isn't.  Contemporary art, old school art, realism, expressionism, impressionism, surrealism, the list goes on….just go and look and make up your own mind. Don't be intimidated. So much fun stuff to experience.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's now a day off from the Gallery, and I am catching up on some important "other" projects that I have going. While going through very old photos and documents, I came across some old letters that I sent to my husband, mother, grandmother, and their return answers from the years soon after our moving to Norway. I sat a while with these old memories, and relished them. They gave me strength during a time in my life that I was unsure of. Had I made a mistake in moving to Bergen? Would I ever master the language and customs? Would I ever be accepted by "real" norwegians? With one foot in Norway and another in the US, I felt privileged, yet, torn.  Here I am 37 years later, reflecting… happy that I didn't give in to insecurity and the uncomfortable feeling of leaving behind everything familiar and loved.  We take giant leaps of faith all the time in our lives, not knowing where we will end up. We make decisions and then anguish about how they will pan out. I felt that I had to follow my heart, and it has been the best gauge of what is right and good. The insecurity turned into security….likewise with the rest of the negatives. Life is good and it is getting better all the time…..just give it….time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Just an afterthought, ……will I ever get past the botanicals?? I have a new series that I am working on that is possibly more personal than I have painted previously, but needs to come out. Maybe that will be a new direction for next year's exhibit. In the meantime, Here's a little taste of what's coming up this time around.
Today started out wet and rainy…improved slowly, and now the sun is shining through my living room window like it's the most normal thing in the world. Thank you God for the most wonderful summer in Norway EVER. I had the feeling that I was in PA. during a heat wave and now I remember why Fall used to be my most favorite time of the year. I have become scandinavian in tolerance for heat. I actually enjoy being able to put on a sweater and feel a cool breeze. Warm=good, hot=hell.
After having had to cancel our trip to the US this summer because my husband had emergency appendix surgery, I have not have so many hours in the studio to prepare for the exhibit I'm committed to in September. I admit, I do work hard when I am there, and I have about 15 relatively new paintings that are going to be shown, so all in all, if I had managed to put in more studio hours, I would have twice the number. Fortunately, Lille Atelier is just a 2 room gallery, with exactly the amount of wall space to accommodate my production.
I am looking forward to September.  At the same time, I am anxious about what the vibe of these paintings will be like when I hang them up in a controlled, coordinated, confined area. I'm betting that I will feel like putting a bed in the gallery and staying there for the entire month. Hoping that I'll get plenty of visitors/art interested/curious types that come in an just want to STAY. After many positive experiences with exhibits, I expect nothing less than to build on the positive trend from past years. I look forward to seeing new and old friends, family and neighbors and plenty of strangers that will be wowed by what they see. Wish me luck……..